Republic of Ireland 0-1 England WU19s
A colossal performance from goalkeeper Khiara Keating helped England women’s under-19s record an opening Euro qualifying victory against the Republic of Ireland.
An own goal from Ireland’s Shauna Brennan with 11 minutes left on the clock decided the contest in Limerick as the two sides kicked off their 2022 UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship qualifying campaign.
It was an impressive performance from the Republic of Ireland as they created a host of great chances but on each occasion they were denied by an outstanding Keating, the Manchester City goalkeeper who is currently on loan at Fylde.
This was England’s first match of a mini qualifying tournament in Limerick, involving the hosts, Northern Ireland and Switzerland.
Next up for WU19s is Northern Ireland on Saturday (kick-off 2pm), which takes place the same day the senior sides meet at Wembley Stadium connected by EE in senior Euro qualifying.
The Young Lionesses’ trip to Ireland will then finish on Tuesday when they face Switzerland (kick-off 1pm), with the top three teams progressing to the second qualifying round next year.
Ultimately, from the 52 countries that entered qualification, seven teams will qualify for the eight-nation finals in the Czech Republic to be played between 27 June and 9 July, with the hosts also taking part.
Republic of Ireland 0-1 England WU19s
Watch the full match as the Young Lionesses travel to Limerick for their opening Euro qualifier
Ireland enjoyed seven shots to England’s three in the first half of this game, with Ellen Molloy firing over from close range midway through the opening period after good wing play from Aoife Horgan.
Kerryanne Brown then sent a low drive from distance wide and a minute later, Keating was forced into her first save of note, as she superbly tipped over a 30-yard strike from Molloy.
Ireland’s Muireann Devaney had a low shot saved just before the break but there was still time in the half for Keating to make another fine save, denying Rebecca Watkins when one-on-one.
England had the first chance of the second period though, as Lucy Parry forced a save with a long-range strike.
But it was Keating who once again came to England’s rescue, as the Flyde loanee denied Horgan when she was through on goal and then saved an effort from Jessie Stapleton following a short free-kick.
In the opening 78 minutes, the hosts enjoyed 11 attempts at goal and five on target to England’s six efforts and one on target.
But when England’s Parry sent in a dangerous cross on 79 minutes, Brennan sliced clearance flew past helpless goalkeeper Rugile Auskalnyte to make it 1-0.
England improved after their opener and could have added a second, as substitute Grace Clinton almost got on the end of a dangerous cross and then Aggie Beever-Jones headed wide.
In the end, one goal was enough though following Keating’s superb showing, as England joined Switzerland at the top of League A – Group 5, following their 3-1 win over Northern Ireland.
England: 1 Khiara Keating (Fylde, loan from Manchester City), 2 Jorja Fox (Chelsea), 3 Lucy Parry (Liverpool), 4 Charlotte Wardlaw (Liverpool, loan from Chelsea), 5 Ruby Mace (Manchester City), 7 Aggie Beever-Jones (Bristol City, loan from Chelsea), 8 Maisie Symonds (Brighton & Hove Albion) ©, 9 Lucy Watson (Sheffield United), 11 Freya Gregory (Aston Villa), 12 Tara Bourne (Sheffield United, loan from Manchester United), 14 Lucia Kendall (Southampton)
Substitutes: 15 Grace Clinton (Everton) for Symonds 64, 20 Olivia McLoughlin (Aston Villa) for Gregory 81, 17 Alex Hennessy (Arsenal) for Watson 90
Substitutes not used: 6 Teyah Goldie (Arsenal), 10 Laura Blindkilde Brown (Aston Villa), 13 Eleanor Heeps (Blackburn Rovers, loan from Tottenham Hotspur), 16 Mia Ross (Charlton Athletic), 18 Caitlin Smith (Clemson University), 19 Missy Goodwin (Aston Villa)
Head coach: Gemma Davies
Goals: Shauna Brennan own goal 79